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Thursday, Nov 3, 2005, 1:34 pm

Abu Ghraib to freed detainees: It’s been real! K.I.T.!

By Silja J.A. Talvi

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Central Command's "Detainee Operations" in Iraq announced that, "in the spirit of Eid al-Fitr, a day of rejoicing that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan," 500 security detainees had been released from Abu Ghraib.

A special Iraqi-led review board determined that these detainees had not, in fact, committed any serious or violent crimes.

"These detainees have confessed to their crimes, renounced violence and pledged to be good citizens of Iraq," read the U.S. military press release, without explaining what, if anything, the detainees had done wrong in the first place.

Apparently, the release of these 500 detainees "marks another milestone achieved in the Iraqis’ progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law." (Just what we need, more of these amazing milestones.)

At least they're home for the holidays. I would hazard a guess that no such luck exists for the countless, nameless individuals holed up the C.I.A's secret network of prisons, something akin to our post-9/11 "global internment network," in which prisoners have no rights, no due process, no recourse whatsoever. Whatever kind of living hell that covert world is likely to be, our dollars paid for it.

And I want my money back. No, a raincheck won't do.

Silja J.A. Talvi, a senior editor at In These Times, is an investigative journalist and essayist with credits in many dozens of newspapers and magazines nationwide, including The Nation, Salon, Santa Fe Reporter, Utne, and the Christian Science Monitor.

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